Review: Elle Kennedy’s The Risk

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Alright, y’all – I loved this one. I’ve been eyeing up The Risk for quite some time now. Elle Kennedy is one of my favorite New Adult authors, and I fell absolutely in love with her Off Campus series. So I was super excited for her new series, Briar U. The first book in the series (The Chase) was also really good (hopefully will have a review on that one up soon!), but this one (the second) was amazing.

spoiler free review: There was a lot that I loved. First, Brenna was an amazing heroine. She was so confident and headstrong, and I loved that about her. Her perspective felt honest and refreshing. Jake is probably one of my favorite heroes (although basically no one can top Garrett from The Deal – sorry). Enemies-to-lovers tropes are always one of my favorites. Throw in some hockey, fun friendships, fake dating, and complicated family back stories and I am all in. Essentially this book was witty, fun, and it made my heart swoon. I think one of the reasons that I loved this one even more than the first in the series is that this book was somewhat slow-burn. Not as slow as say a Mariana Zapata book, but I loved the build up between the two characters and the push and pull of their friendship. Overall, I give this one a 5/5.

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get more info: Visit Elle Kennedy’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find The Chase on Amazon; find The Risk on Amazon; find The Deal on Amazon

If you’re looking for more on Elle Kennedy – read my mashup contemporary authors post.

The Risk is the second book in Elle Kennedy’s Briar U series. It is classified as New Adult. The Risk can be read as a standalone; however, I would suggest reading The Chase first so you’re introduced to all of the characters (and get to read another fun romance). Elle Kennedy is set to release the third book in the series, The Play, on October 7, 2019.

spoilers ahead: I really loved the chemistry between Jake and Brenna. I am an (admitted) sucker for the fake relationship trope, so as soon as Brenna proposed that her and Jake fake dating for her job – I was sold. There was something just…magnetic about the push and pull between them.

I will say that I wanted to bang my head on something when Brenna gave the bracelet to Jake’s friend assuming she would just give it to him…arg!! His friend’s motives were questionable at best and I was having anxiety thinking the bracelet wouldn’t make it to him. Luckily it worked out, but Brenna was so naive in that moment and I was screaming.

I honestly just can’t say nice enough things about this one. I love Elle Kennedy and think she’s an amazing writer. I cannot wait until her new release in October. GO BUY THIS BOOK!

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

Mashup: Contemporary Romance Authors

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Hi y’all. Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day! In celebration of the holiday, I wanted to share with y’all my top ten contemporary romance authors. Contemporary romance has always been one of my favorite genres. Even though most romance books aren’t necessarily life changing or perhaps the most profound literature…they make me happy. There is just something heart warming about reading someone’s love story. So – enough rambling – here are some of my favorite contemporary romance authors (in no particular order).

Elle Kennedy
I have to start out by recommending any book by Elle Kennedy. Kennedy was the first author that really got me to love the contemporary romance genre. I started out with the Off-Campus series and absolutely fell in love. There are four books in this series – but if I had to choose my favorite (and I really love them all, so this is hard) … I would tell you to check out The Deal (book 1) or The Score (book 3). Kennedy does a great job of creating a dynamic cast of characters that you can keep up with throughout the series. Kennedy also creates some funny and strong-willed female leads, which I love. Plus, the series is about hockey. I mean… need I say more?

Also: recommend trying out her Briar U series (spin-off from the Off-Campus series). Kennedy also has a series Him which she authors with Sarina Bowen. This series is very sexy, but also very heart-warming. It follows the love story of Jamie and Ryan (and again, includes hockey!)

Mariana Zapata
Mariana Zapata continues to give me life with her romance novels. Before you go into one of her books, though, you have to know – her books are sloooow burn. If you’re not into the slow build up between the leads, her books are not for you. However, I will say I have loved the books of hers that I’ve read. She just finds a way to make me fall in love with the leads based on their friendly interactions and the love between them – not necessarily for the sexy scenes. I have to recommend that you try The Wall of Winnipeg and Me (my favorite!) Find more of her books here.

Sally Thorne
Sally Thorne has written one of my favorite books, The Hating Game. This is a romance novel that was so funny and just truly warmed my heart. This is also a enemies-to-lovers romance, which always entertains me. Plus, I love how quirky and happy the main character was. 99 Percent Mine is her new release, and I have a full review on that here. Please don’t miss out on this author! Both books are so witty and she clearly has a talent for writing.

Linda Kage
Ok I have to recommend Linda Kage to y’all. I started the Forbidden Men series and fell in love. First, there is just something I love about a good trope. In this case, it’s obvious, forbidden love! I think I find this trope so entertaining because this trope tends to align closely with slow-burn. I love when the anticipation builds between the two leads. In this series, I have to recommend Price of A Kiss (although trigger warning: includes prostitution), Be My Hero, A Perfect Ten, and Priceless.This series includes ten novels, so it can keep you entertained for quite some time! However, for full disclosure, I could never get into Worth It or The Girl’s Got Secrets. But please – let me know your thoughts!

Sawyer Bennett
I’m starting to think my love of hockey really shines through my romance choices. Regardless, I can’t help but recommend Sawyer Bennett to y’all. I have read quite a few books from her Carolina Cold Fury Series, and I really loved each one I read. She has a mix of tropes in there, but she truly just writes very complex characters with dynamic backgrounds. She writes real people with real issues/baggage – and some of these “issues” aren’t just resolved in one book. She has a spin-off series Arizona Vengeance Series, which I also have loved. Although, if I have to recommend my favorites: try Alex, Garrett, and Bishop.

Kristen Callihan
When I first found Kristen Callihan, I was obsessed. The idea of contemporary romance surrounding famous band members? Um, count me in. The VIP series is one of my favorites! The characters have complex back stories and it’s so fun to see them all interact together. Plus, the setting (a band on tour) makes for such an entertaining read. Out of the three books that are currently out in this series, if I had to choose, I would say that Managed is my favorite – but only barely. I really love them all.

Sarina Bowen
Ok so I guess hockey is a theme for me? Should I be embarrassed or embrace it? Regardless, Sarina Bowen is one of my favorites. I know I’ve already mentioned Bowen’s book Him that she co-authored with Elle Kennedy, but she has another series I love: Brooklyn Bruisers. I love Rookie Move and Brooklynaire. Also, Overnight Sensation. Basically – read the series, I love the whole thing! I fall in love with all the heroes. Plus, I love when a series has a cast of characters that you get to follow throughout each book (although one book is clearly their focus.) Please check this author out if you haven’t already.

Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Listen, we have to talk about Hate Notes. Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward kind of broke my heart with this one. It’s a stand alone, which is a change up from the series recommendations above. I honestly don’t want to give much away, because I went into this unspoiled and it was so worth it. This book was really so much more than your typical surface level romance. This one just hit me right in the heart. Ugh, I can’t recommend it enough. Please check this one out!

R.S. Grey
R.S. Grey has written quite a few of my favorite romance novels. She writes dialogue that makes me laugh out loud and characters that really pull at my heartstrings. One of my favorites from R.S. Grey is The Foxe and The Hound. I’m gearing up to read one of her newer releases soon, so hopefully a review on that one will be up shortly!

Hooray if you’re still here after reading all that! I can’t wait to hear some of your recommendations for contemporary romance authors (seriously! please! I need more!). Let me know if you’ve read or loved any of the ones I’ve recommended above. I hope to eventually have more in depth reviews of some of these books on the blog, because I really do love them that much.

Happy Valentine’s Day y’all.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

Review: Fredrik Backman’s Beartown

FullSizeROne of my goals this year is to re-read some of my favorite books. Sometimes I find myself so wrapped up in new releases that I don’t make time for the favorites I’ve already read. So in January, I knew I wanted to re-read Beartown.

I received Beartown as a Christmas gift from my boyfriend, who had read (and loved) another Fredrik Backman novel, A Man Called Ove. I went in to this novel with zero expectations and I was shocked.

This is one of the handful of books that I can say has had a profound impact on my life. At random times I will find myself still thinking about the characters and there are passages of the prose that are still suck in my head.

This book was beautiful. It was hard. It broke my heart. It was dark. It was impactful. Beartown is worth it.

Before I get further into the review, I need to include a trigger warning. Like, a really huge trigger warning. Beartown involves the rape and sexual assault of a young female character. Yet, the previous sentence seriously understates the content of the novel. Beartown goes beyond the details of the violence itself and explores the impact of such an event on the victim, the families, the abuser, and the community itself. Beartown talks rape culture, homophobia, misogyny, and victim blaming. It allows the reader to see how this abuse can occur in a community – and what has allowed it to persist. You can view a more thorough synopsis here on Goodreads.

spoiler free review: I loved Beartown. Fredrik Backman has some of the most beautiful prose I’ve been blessed enough to encounter. (Seriously, though.) Backman writes in such a way that packs a punch. The prose is written in a delicate, but an impactful way. I felt like I could find a meaningful quote on almost every page. (I’ve included a few of my favorites below in the spoiler section.)

Overall, I truly can’t recommend this book enough. It get a full 5/5 from me.

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get more info: visit Fredrik Backman’s website; connect with the author on Twitter; connect with the author on Instagram; find Beartown on Amazon; find Us Against You on Amazon

Beartown is the first novel in Fredrik Backman’s Björnstad book series. It is a work of fiction and it was published in September 2016. It is followed by Us Against You, which was published in August 2017.

note: I wanted to include some resources here for anyone who may be dealing with a similar situation to the sensitive content seen in Beartown. Whether you want resources, support, or if you are looking for ways to support others – please consider some of the links below.

RAINN is a great resource for those in the United States. RAINN provides national resources for survivors and their loved ones. Their hotline number is 800-656-HOPE. RAINN also has international resources here for those who reside outside of the United States.

I reside in the United States, so I’m not as knowledgeable in resources for international folks. However, as I research further, I will add any resources here that may be of help to y’all.

You are never alone.

Continue reading “Review: Fredrik Backman’s Beartown”